Grace is an art form, and we're losing it.
I am blessed to come from a line of women who I would consider gracious. They are quiet women, flexible, willing to let you be just as you are and love you anyway. There's just this great energy around them because everyone is comfortably at ease and not trying to prove anything.
God has given me a pretty fair amount of that kind of grace, and He's giving more every day. The truth is that when you can quiet and still yourself, take a deep breath, and conclude that this - whatever this is at any given moment - is ok, it's fairly easy to embrace grace. It's a passive grace, a grace that simply lets things be.
But not all grace is passive. And it's in the active that it's easy to lose grace.
I'm a mutterer. It's very frustrating to be infinitely better at something than the person whose mess you are criticizing or cleaning up. (This is mock narcissism, a little tongue-in-cheek.) So I mutter.
It's when you're already muttering that you have to make a conscious move toward grace. Because you know at this point, you're not going to be quiet.
The opposite of grace is conceit. It is this haughty attitude that's out to show itself, to prove it's something. To prove we are something. Seeking affirmation about ourselves. It's the hand-on-the-hip, foot-tapping supervisor of the world that's waiting for that precise second to storm over, take the tool in its own hands, and show everybody a thing or two about how it's done...gaining a little respect in the process.
To move toward grace, you have to put aside that place in your heart that isn't into it. That place that's fighting it. That place that's wounded against it. That is our biggest obstacle to grace - the wounded place within our hearts that's still looking for approval. That's feels like it's got something to prove.
It proves something, alright. But you probably wouldn't like what it says about you.
What if we could prove grace?
If we want to do that, we have to give our seeking heart to the only One who can answer it. We have to set aside our notion that we have to prove ourselves and invite Him to confirm us. To tell us we are more than enough. To tell us we are simply this. To tell us that this is better than ok, this is 'good." We are good, for He created us and determined we are good.
When we can do this, we get a little more grace in our hearts, and we find it easier to extend that to others. It's a grace that isn't quiet, but uses few words nonetheless. Instead of muttering, we're mentoring. Instead of gossiping, we're gathering. Instead of judging, we're justifying. Instead of lecturing, we're leading. It's an active grace, a grace that speaks and responds and interacts with the world and labors to love and change it. It's a grace that allows us to be still even when we're not quiet.
And it's an unassuming grace.
Un-assuming we have anything to prove but grace itself.